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UDS-R. Got Photos?

Four days of cameras everywhere! Thousands of photos! Are you (or were you) there?

Let's get all our photos onto Flickr (or similar) photo sharing services. Let's show the whole world our great Ubuntu Contributor Community in action.

Suggested photo tags: uds-r, ubuntu, raring

Please upload your photos. Thanks :)

Nifty Panorama PhotoNifty Panorama Photo


It's Really Dead. Get Over It.

There's been some chatter on the interwebs, especially on a popular Ubuntu software-only news site, started evidently by that guy that wants Mono everywhere saying something to the effect that the "Linux Desktop is Dead".

He's right. It's dead. Put it in a coffin. Fill it with lead. Nail it shut. Head over to Marianas Trench (1). Drop it to the bottom of the sea. Fill the trench with rock.

The sooner we all end kernel fixation, the sooner Ubuntu will cross the chasm. Don't be that guy living in the 90's and lamenting about kernels on the desktop. Kernels don't live on desktops. Neither do Colonels.

Echoing Michael Hall's post (with updated terminology):

As long as there is a demand for a "Libre Desktop" OS, there will be people creating it. And right now, those people are amassing around the project that is called Ubuntu, creating something that millions and millions of people enjoy every day.

Now, back to building Ubuntu!

(1) Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world's oceans. It is also a a Canadian pop rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia.
(2) The legend of the Challenged Chicken: http://blog.sighworld.com/2011/10/01/ubuntu-challenged-chicken/

Diaspora* Is Now Open, and Community Driven!

Remember when the internet was free? Hint: Parts of it still are.

Yesterday, the project's founder announced that Diaspora* is now a community project and is wide open for everyone. No invites necessary. Just sign up!

In the words of Daniel Grippi:

"Today, the network has grown into thousands of people using our software in hundreds of installations across the web. There are hundreds of pods that have been created by community members, and it has become one of the biggest Github projects to date. It has been translated to almost fifty languages, with hundreds of developers worldwide contributing back to the project."

"Diaspora has grown into something more than just a project four guys started in their office at school. It is bigger than any one of us, the money we raised, or the code we have written. It has developed into something that people all over the world care about and are inspired by."

"Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community."

"As a Free Software social project, we have an obligation to take this project further, for the good of the community that revolves around it."

"This is a new opportunity for Diaspora to grow further than ever before. We can’t wait to see what we can do together."

Once you join, be sure to follow #ubuntu.

And how about this for an idea?

I think Wayne's onto something. With all the nifty web integration that will be in 12.10 we have a golden opportunity to lead by example. The world's most popular freedom-centric OS meets the world's most popular freedom-centric social network. Anyone have the skills to make this happen?

See you there.


Apologies in advance if you hold Facebook stock. ;)

Ubuntu Community Lexicon, Part 4

In case you haven't seen my "Ubuntu Community Lexicon" series, the earlier post and an explanation of the rationale is here. This post is a follow-up and a refinement.

Where is your place in Ubuntu Community?

There is something missing from that question. Did you spot it? It's an adjective. And for the purpose of this article, it's the distinction between online and "in-real-life".

Are you part of the Ubuntu Online Community? Or do you prefer to belong to the Ubuntu In-Real-Life Community? Admittedly, the Ubuntu Online Community is a bit of a blind spot for me. I interact much less often in Ubuntu IRC channels, Ubuntu Forums, Ask Ubuntu, etc. than I do in real life. Instead, I prefer meet Ubuntu friends and co-conspirators in person.

Having said that, a lot of what I see and read that says "Ubuntu Community" is really about the Ubuntu Online Community. I believe this is an artifact from the time when Ubuntu (the project) was small and dispersed and there was little opportunity for in-real-life meetings. Though these days (of being small) are gone, we're still managing a lot of the community as if it exists primarily online and we're optimizing for that. (Maybe even subconsciously.)

With that in mind, it is useful to integrate the notion of "online" into the Ubuntu Community Lexicon which I started developing and socializing at UDS-P. Perhaps this will help us deploy community management techniques that are more precise. And, by extension, maybe we'll gain some benefit that we can map to our "in-real-life" community development.

Enter research. By day, I'm an IT management professional. I also enjoy researching social aspects of computing (something I do as a hobby, believe it or not). While reading the International Journal of Managing Information Technology recently, I came across online community terminology that is helpful, which I will paraphrase from the original authors (see footnote) and adapt to our use case:

Outsider: A person who is unaware of Ubuntu forums, IRC channels, discussion boards, etc. and likely not interested in Ubuntu's online community.

Non-interested Knower: A person who knows about Ubuntu's online community but never browses its posts. S/he's currently not interested in the content but might be interested in the future.

Trouble Maker: A person who post "malwords" (unwanted input, derogatory posts, trollish content) that can hurt Ubuntu's online community by making other participants feel bad. Even if these individuals provide information they are undesirable because other people may leave if they are subjected to their vitriol.

Lurker: A person who just consumes without providing any new information. Their overall value to the community is roughly zero.

Non-contributing Participant: A person who does not provide any new/useful information, but consumes information or participates in other activities. They ask questions, give
feedback, and thank others. (You can think of these people almost as fans at a hockey game.)

Partially-contributing Participant: A person who contributes sometimes, but is mostly a consumer.

Contributor: Individuals who provide new information regularly as their main act.

Which group most closely resembles the people you know in Ubuntu's Online Community?

And, less obviously:
For whom do we want to optimize our online community? What steps, if any, are we prepared to take to innoculate it from those we don't want.

Food for thought. If you'd like to offer some ideas, the comments are open.


Remember: When we speak about community, lets use adjectives. Let's use more than one adjective if one isn't enough. Let's use precise language to help frame the problems we are trying to solve in the Precise cycle, and beyond.

The original paper is here:
"A Continuum of Participants in Online Communities" by Xuequn Wang and Yanjun Yu.

Music of Ubuntu: Asimbonanga

Recently on Planet Ubuntu, Jono "challenged" us to share the music we associate with Ubuntu. I love a challenge, and Jono's my bud. (I know he'll write an Ubuntu anthem one day!)

So until then Jono, I have several great tunes that come to mind, but I want to share the one song that I think absolutely nails the spirit of what we're doing.


1) This song is difficult to pronounce, but can be mastered with practice, just like Ubuntu. (Hint: oo-boon-too)

2) This song is by a band that hails from South Africa (Johnny Clegg and Savuka, formerly Juluka) and its sound is distinctly African. Ubuntu has similar origins.

3) This song is a song about a struggle for freedom: In this case, Nelson Mandela and the struggle to end apartheid. Ubuntu is a struggle to bring freedom to a domain (computing) that has seen very little of it.

4) This song is inspiring, just like Ubuntu.

5) I have opened dozens of Ubuntu Vancouver celebrations and presentations with my own Ubuntu soundtrack, and this song is the song I play before taking the stage. So for me, when I hear the song, I remember those that were beside me, supporting me. I remember hundreds of people in Vancouver that love, use, and contribute to Ubuntu and celebrate local community together with me, in person.

Ubuntu friends, our struggle might also seem insurmountable at times (hate, negativity, unfair competition), but remember that a great vision (Mark Shuttleworth) and hard work (Ubuntu Contributor Community) trumps even the most evil construct. (Evil? Think predatory monopoly. Think indifferent. Think fruit.)

Allow me to present ASIMBONANGA.

Click to play!Click to play!


Happy Valentines Day Ubuntu <3


This post proudly shared on Diaspora*, the social network that speaks freedom.

Following Good Blogging Advice

Yesterday on Planet Ubuntu, Jono blogged about how to make your blog more compelling, professional and popular. Great advice!

One of Jono's tips that caught my eye, and admittedly one that I personally underutilize was:

     "Use social media – post a link to your post on 
      Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other social media accounts."

Social media can extend the reach of your blog, taking it to new places and new audiences. However, despite my love of the first (bolded) part of that advice, I just could not stomach the second part. To me, it would be the equivalent of wearing a fur coat to a PETA rally. So, in the spirit of forking, here's my version:

     "Use social media – post a link to your post on 
      Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other  social media accounts 
      that respect freedom, do not censor, and do not sell or 
      otherwise disclose your social graph."

So, I reposted my Planet Ubuntu post from yesterday to Diaspora*. To my delight, I received some additional traffic and insight from a new reader:


Do you use Diaspora* to further the reach of your blog? Do you want to communicate to people who love and understand freedom?

#Ubuntu is now followed by 1737 people on Diaspora*. And I'll bet you a beer that we can easily multiply that by a factor of 1000.

I hope you'll join the discussion on Diaspora* by participating and contributing your great Ubuntu blog posts there.

Forget walled gardens. Freedom awaits :)

Dealing With Hate Precisely

Those of us who blog about Ubuntu, or participate in Ubuntu forums, mailing lists, and other aspects of the "Ubuntu Online Community" all have something in common: We are subjected to hatred from time-to-time. Recently these are roughly of the form:

"Unity sucks and you are an Ubuntu fanboy for liking it.""Unity sucks and you are an Ubuntu fanboy for liking it."

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct has a guideline that we can use when we encounter "haters". It says: Be respectful.

This is simple in concept, but I've always sought something more concrete: a clean, efficient and effective way of "agreeing to disagree".

Then the other day while doing some research, I stumbled upon this *gem* from Darren Rowse (who was quoting a Buddhist monk) over at ProBlogger:

     When someone attacks you with anger and hatred
     say to them:

     “thank you for your ‘gift’ – but I think you can
     keep it for yourself.”

     It is easy to take on the anger of other people and
     to wear it as a burden of your own but it is usually
     unhealthy to do so.

I'll be using that line from now on. :)

You can read the whole article here. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/02/16/what-a-buddhist-monk-taugh...

image by Andrew Senay (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Follow Ubuntu (with Social Network Freedom)

Remember America Online? Remember Compuserve? Remember walled gardens? Remember when the internet was free?

All the "l337 h4ck3r$" are now moving to Diaspora*.

Be sure to follow #ubuntu and #ubuntuTV there.

Consider yourself notified.

Ubuntu TV: A Welcomed Side-Effect

The announcement of #ubuntu tv today appears to have confirmed one of my theories: People do indeed need a second word when referring to #ubuntu, but normally cannot tolerate three.

There is something about calling an operating system by a single word that freaks people out.

Usually, the second word that is naturally (and erroneously) appended to Ubuntu is the "L" word. But today, the buzz is "Ubuntu TV". No "L" word in sight.

Perhaps this #ubuntu tv thing has an important and long overdue side-effect: Removing colonels and kernels from the discourse about free computing and clearing the way for Ubuntu to cross the chasm.

Now, what do we call Ubuntu when it's not embedded in a television?

How about "Ubuntu OS"? Any takers?

Amazing chicken artwork: jliau!

2012: The Year of Ubuntu

Welcome to 2012!

At this time of year I like to read forward-thinking and philosophical writings. It's one of the ways I try to "reboot" my thinking processes and clear the way for new ideas. In that quest today, I discovered an interesting and helpful research paper on Ubuntu written by Tom Bennett at the University of Cape Town entitled "Ubuntu: An African Equity."

Though written in the context of law several ideas presented resonated with what I've seen both online and in the "in-real-life" community.

"It must be remembered that ubuntu is a "loan word" in English, which suggests that it was adopted to signify a phenomenon that was never before expressed in its new environment.(1)

This makes a lot of sense. Ubuntu is indeed novel to both the computer realm and to western-centric cultures and therefore is confusing a lot of people, especially journalists. What is it? It's software, right? How does something from Africa matter to computing?

A new word is a solution to a problem. Often the need is obvious, but sometimes it is unseen or barely felt, and then it is only in finding something to plug the gap that we actually realise the gap was there in the first place.(2)

Of your three closest friends or family members, how many of them understand the problem that Ubuntu is designed to solve? How many of them are actually using Ubuntu as their primary operating system? How many of them are aware that Ubuntu is "not just software"? How many of them care?

Ubuntu involves more than entitlements to equal treatment or fair play. It also obliges the individual “to give the same respect, dignity, value and acceptance to each member of [the] community. More importantly, it regulates the exercise of rights by the emphasis it lays on sharing and co-responsibility and the mutual enjoyment of rights by all".(3)

I think this is profound. The notion that any of us are entitled to Ubuntu is false. One might argue that we are entitled to it to the extent that we contribute to it. Have your friends downloaded Ubuntu? Have they used it? Have they given something back to the project? Have they joined an Ubuntu group in their town? Why not?

All of these excerpts point to a need we have in the Ubuntu Community. We have much educational (and marketing) work to do, and it's bigger than software. We need to teach people what Ubuntu is, how it works, and what problems it is designed to solve.

I hope everyone had a great New Year holiday and is ready for the 2012 challenge: to take Ubuntu across the chasm and to the other 99%+ of the world.

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